This Week In Ford Racing: Special Edition - Martin and Jarrett Discuss Rusty Wallace's Days at Ford Rusty Wallace was affiliated with Ford Racing for nine years (1994-2002) and in that time he compiled a number of impressive statistics ...
This Week In Ford Racing:
Special Edition - Martin and Jarrett Discuss Rusty Wallace's Days at Ford
Rusty Wallace was affiliated with Ford Racing for nine years (1994-2002) and in that time he compiled a number of impressive statistics that included 23 wins and 21 poles. Below are some of the highlights from his days with Ford, in addition to comments from current Ford drivers Mark Martin and Dale Jarrett.
MARK MARTIN - No. 6 Viagra Taurus
"I started racing with Rusty in 1976 when we were both teenagers. He and I have fought for the same piece of real estate for a lot of years and we've never had a problem. We have enormous respect for one another and I think that's pretty unique. To think we've raced 30 years for the same piece of real estate and been friends and been respectful makes what we have a special relationship."
IS THERE A FAVORITE RUSTY MEMORY?
"It was 1977, Fairgrounds Speedway, Springfield, Missouri. I believe it was his first feature win at that track. Rusty beat Larry Phillips and I, which was a tough lineup when you had Phillips to beat, too. That was really tough. Rusty and I were young pups trying to beat Phillips. So he beat Phillips and I that night. I ran second and I could see him waving to the crowd as he crossed the start-finish line. Then he spun her out and backed it into the fence and the back end went up on the wall after the start-finish line. He was so excited, but it was pretty funny. I'll always remember that. His deck lid wasn't fastened down so when he went backwards the deck lid flew open and then the back end went up on the wall because it was a short wall. It was very funny."
DALE JARRETT - No. 88 UPS Taurus
"My initial thoughts about Rusty retiring are maybe kind of selfish because I start thinking about myself. Is it time for me to be thinking about that, which I'm not really thinking that much about it until it's a question. But I think to realize what Rusty has meant to this sport, he's the ultimate competitor and loves to race. You hear the term 'born to race' probably too many times, but I think that's what he was and this sport is a lot better off because he chose this. I hate to see him go. I'm not sure that we'll have competitors like that. I'm sure that was said about whenever my dad and Junior Johnson and Cale Yarborough and Darrell Waltrip - when all of those guys retired you wondered about that, and, obviously, the sport still does well, but he's just meant so much. He's a friend. I wouldn't say that we started off that way. He was doing really well and that probably came from some Busch Series races, but I learned to have a tremendous amount of respect for him because of his abilities. When you talk about people we hear a lot about people that know their chassis well, but I don't know that anybody out here knew more about their chassis that's ever been through this than Rusty. He really made that his focus and I think that, along with his ability, helped him win as many races and championships as he has."
DO YOU HAVE A RUSTY MEMORY?
"The first one would have been 1989 at the Busch race in Daytona. He had passed me on a restart and then we had another restart with just a couple of laps to go, and on the backstretch coming to get the checkered flag I faked to the inside and was going to the outside to pass. That's where we both have our own story. I say he ran me into the wall and he says he didn't, but, anyway, I ended up wrecking. The thing about it was he didn't win the race. Darrell Waltrip passed us both and won, but I wouldn't say we were sending each other Christmas cards at that time, but I think it was after that and talking with him after that where we gained a huge amount of respect for each other. I think he appreciated the fact that I had worked hard to get to where I was and we eventually helped each other throughout the years with transportation and things like that. It's been a lot of fun to know him and to race with him."
NOTING RUSTY'S FORD ACCOMPLISHMENTS (1994-2002)
* Posted 23 wins, 97 top-5, 157 top-10 and 21 poles in 298 races with Ford.
* Finished in the top-10 in points all nine seasons with Ford.
* Ranks 8th on the all-time Ford win list with 23.
* Won the first race in a Taurus by capturing the 1998 Bud Shootout.
* Registered the first Ford victory of his career when he won at Rockingham in the second race of 1994.
* Clinched the manufacturer's championship for Ford with his second victory at Martinsville in 1994.
* Led all drivers in that inaugural Ford season with 8 wins in 1994.
* Captured the 50th win of his NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series career when he won at Bristol in 2000.
* Led all drivers with 9 poles in 2000.
* Tied the modern era record of 16 consecutive seasons with at least one victory when he won at California Speedway in 2001.